Homelessness is a pressing issue faced by many cities across the globe. But, could the logistics of parking potentially assist in alleviating this epidemic by supporting community-based initiatives?
In Los Angeles County, where an estimated 58,000 people are homeless, city and county officials recently released six meters designed in collaboration between community advocacy organization the Flintridge Centre and the office of City Council member Jose Huizar to collect charitable contributions as opposed to parking fairs.
The bright orange collection meters, almost identical to their parking counterparts, will be situated in Downtown LA: two currently located in Grand Park with the remaining four to be installed around the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. To prevent confusion with existing meters, the new designs will be set back from the street and accept both credit cards and coins.
The Flintridge Center has previously worked on similar meter donation programs in Florida, Pasadena, and West Palm Beach as part of their project The Real Change Movement. Installed in 2014, The Pasadena meters have collected approximately $16,000 in donations so far that have gone directly to support formerly incarcerated individuals.
Aside from cash donations, the meters will also generate revenue through annual sponsorship of $3,500. The meters installed in Grand Park have been sponsored by Huizar and County Supervisor Hilda Solis. Like the remaining donations from the six LA locations, these funds will go directly to supporting the C3 program based in the city's Skid Row neighbourhood—containing one of the largest stable populations of homeless individuals in the United States. Standing for City, County and Community, the program coordinates public and private resources to assist Skid Row residents in securing permanent housing.
Though proposed five years ago as a method of encouraging the public to donate directly to programs that help solve homelessness, the City of West Hollywood has only recently installed its own set of meters with Downtown LA following suit.
While billed as a prototype, projects like the collection meters are part of larger initiatives attempting to make "real change" in the city. As Huizar told the Los Angeles Daily News, “My hope is this will be a model we can use to increase donation meters throughout the city and county.”
The 4-minute film" Community by Design: Skid Row Housing Trust," directed by Myles Kramer, has been selected by as the winner of the AIA's annual I Look Up Film Challenge.
Aggravated by limited upward mobility and a dire housing crisis, LA County's homeless population has shot up 23 percent to nearly 58,000 in the past year alone, according The Los Angeles Times . Their increased visibility recently guilted voters into passing (by a two-thirds majority) a sales tax increase (Measure H) and a $1.2 billion bond initiative (Measure HHH) to provide housing and amenities.